Parth Mehta ’19 challenges the conventional question of “where do you want to be in five years?” by advocating for a present-focused approach. According to him, instead of fixating on a distant future, one should strive to build for the current moment. When the information technology graduate established Startup Tribes, his initiative aimed at democratizing startup and entrepreneurial support, he relied heavily on sheer determination and an unwavering commitment to achieving nothing less than 100%, with the understanding that the rest would unfold over time.
In the wake of his company’s acquisition by a leading player in startup ecosystem development, Mehta, now 26, lives by the mantra, “At the top of one mountain, is the bottom of the next,” signifying his perpetual quest for new challenges. Despite achieving success at a relatively young age, he remains driven by a willingness to take risks, a characteristic that has defined his journey thus far.
Even after the acquisition, Mehta found himself mentoring and advising founders of high-growth companies in Silicon Valley and New York City, illustrating his relentless commitment to entrepreneurship. His break from this fast-paced lifestyle was a rarity, occurring back in 2017 while he was still a student at NJIT.
For Mehta, embracing the journey with resolute determination and a belief in destined inevitability places one at the pinnacle. He contends that this realm is inhabited by visionary founders, Olympic athletes, and champions in their respective fields—individuals who transform the most challenging dreams into reality. Through meaningful connections with esteemed CEOs and founders, Mehta discovered that excelling in this space requires breaking away from a conventional, run-of-the-mill lifestyle.
As the Senior Leader in Product Management at SS&C Intralinks, a prominent player in virtual data rooms for mergers and acquisitions, Mehta oversees the entire security and compliance product suite. His journey to this role began when the company approached him while he was conducting workshops on entrepreneurial product management skills in Silicon Valley. Despite the role originally being tailored for an expert with over a decade of experience, Mehta’s unique background as both an entrepreneurial leader for a product and an entire tech company set him apart.
Navigating high-pressure situations, handling high-risk tasks, and managing resource constraints while successfully launching products and engaging various stakeholders represent a distinctive skill set that individuals like Mehta bring to the table. Transitioning from a startup to a corporation, he likens the experience to steering a speedboat and then captaining a battleship, where heightened awareness of interdependencies and the potential domino effect of small changes is crucial. Mehta asserts that managing $50 million provides a blueprint for managing $500 million and beyond.
In his role leading the company’s cybersecurity product line, Mehta collaborates closely with senior executives, embodying a strong sense of accountability and ownership. His confidence in delivering results at an age where such responsibility is less common stems from his experience working in highly stressful, high-stakes environments. His extensive subject matter expertise in cybersecurity, coupled with past founder experiences, positions him well to tackle critical challenges with a significant impact.
Despite his success in his 20s, Mehta remains grounded, emphasizing the importance of strong character and moral fiber in navigating adversity. His achievements have not come without sacrifices, as he acknowledges the toll on his internal body clock and the sacrifices made in his social life. Yet, he takes nothing for granted and maintains an outlook centered on gratitude.
Startup Tribes, founded by Mehta at the age of 22, aimed to ‘democratize’ entrepreneurship. In the initial two years, he took no salary, and in the third year, he kept his income below that of a fast-food chain employee, prioritizing the well-being of his staff and company. Working tirelessly, sometimes up to 20 hours a day, he reflects on the intensity of those years with a touch of humor, suggesting that even with a 100-hour work week over four years, he might still be underpaid.
The challenging backdrop of starting a new company during the onset of COVID added to the complexity. However, Mehta, drawing on the mentorship of Suresh U. Kumar, director of entrepreneurial programs at NJIT, navigated these challenges. Kumar’s experience as a serial entrepreneur, including successfully founding a company after 9/11, provided Mehta with valuable insights into building a startup ecosystem during periods of uncertainty.
Startup Tribes initially addressed challenges faced by university entrepreneurship centers, and Mehta secured his first customer based on merit and trust rather than the best pitch deck. As industries shifted to remote operations due to COVID, Mehta adapted, expanding his company’s scope to digitize entrepreneurship support organizations and startup accelerators, ultimately leading to the acquisition in 2022.
Mehta’s accomplishments have come at a cost, impacting his internal body clock and social life. Yet, he values the friendships cultivated, especially with peers over 45 years old who run billion-dollar companies. Despite moments of uncertainty during his company’s evolution, Mehta’s strong character enabled him to navigate extreme hardships.
In prioritizing making a difference over making money, Mehta has consistently adhered to his guiding principle. His decision to forgo a high-paying job on Wall Street right after school in favor of Startup Tribes underscores his commitment to providing resources, access to capital, and tools to underserved entrepreneurs. Beyond his role at Intralinks, Mehta collaborates with Kumar at TiE NJ, chairing the Emerging Entrepreneurs Special Interest Group, dedicated to helping young founders and first-time entrepreneurs acquire tangible skills in their initial startup years.
Mehta’s perspective embodies an ongoing journey of personal and professional evolution, marked by a willingness to embrace criticism and feedback for skill refinement, character development, and moral compass alignment. His resounding philosophy emphasizes contentment with the present coexisting with an unwavering pursuit of excellence, aiming for a life free of regrets.